Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maundy Thursday

Year 4-Day 84: Today, I am grateful Maundy Thursday lessons.

Today is the day we remember Jesus with his disciples in the upper room. They were together in fellowship to dine, Jesus would predict Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial and his death and resurrection. He would explain the deeper meaning of his death through the bread and the wine, so that they would remember. It is the introduction of the act we know as communion, "The Lord's Supper" or the Eucharist. 

Matthew, Mark and Luke record the the meal we call "The Lord's Supper". It is interesting to hear the evening from four perspectives.  It is likely that most of them did not record it until years later. Still, the points they penned are all significant... with great consistency... from different points of view. John is the only one who focuses on the footwashing. The others focus on the bread and the wine. John understood love and relationship. Jesus called him "the beloved". 

Luke records the disagreement where they argue over who will be the greatest. Two continue to wonder at "the man carrying the jar" who had the room ready for their Passover dinner. All capture pieces of the conversation. All three, who record the Eucharist, note that before breaking the bread - he "blessed" the bread...or he "gave thanks". Giving thanks as he stood before the his best friends knowing that one would sell him for 30 pieces of silver, one would betray him 3 times before the rooster crowed at dawn, and knowing the suffering ahead.  He gave thanks? Yes, he did!  

John tells how Jesus washed their feet.  He must have appeared crazy! It was a servants job. Even in today's society, those who wash and clean things are considered to be in the lowest positions of society. Think about it.  At a fancy restaurant, is it an honor to meet the dishwasher? When you check into a hotel, do they rave about the staff who scrub the bathrooms? When important dignitaries come to any area, do they gather the maids, the car wash personnel and the ones who sterilize instruments in a hospital?  No...they look for CEO's, CFO's, Mayors and other important people. 

Not Jesus. He went to the Samaritan woman at the well and changed her life knowing her sinful past.  He healed lepers. He made tax collectors friends, collected hard working but earthy fisherman as disciples and he allowed a woman to sit at his feet with the men hearing his instruction when society (and her sister) believed she belonged in the kitchen and at the well. Jesus went against the grain of what was popular to do show love, light and give hope to all who would willingly receive his grace. 

Jesus challenged everyone to upside down thinking. Especially his disciples.  Their rabbi...the master...the Son of God had no place kneeling before them and washing their feet. Ah...but there is the catch. He chose that roll. Humble servant...and mighty king.  Jesus came as a servant leader and a servant Savior. 

Jesus came to fulfill a mission from pay a sin debt he did not owe, so that we can live freely and eternally. He came in love, lived in peace and was filled with power. He terrified the church leaders and officials because he would reach out to the lowest on the social ladder and the most hated., and they changed. Jesus was rocking their world, so they put into motion the plan for his death.  

Jewish leaders had know idea they were changing Passover forever. The one they hated would hang on a cross...the Lamb of God...with the power to set them free.  But most denied and refused the possibility, despite the prophecies fulfilled.  

Maundy Thursday brings so many images to mind.  The King with a bowl and towel is important. Whose feet can we wash today? If not literally, with loving acts of service. 

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example,that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:14-17

Today, I am grateful Maundy Thursday lessons.

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